I have received many messages in response to rumors that the school system was considering an earlier start date for the upcoming school year. Please rest assured that when the board is presented with a calendar for approval, I will not be supporting any start date earlier than this year's start date.
The suggestion that the school system might consider an earlier start date has clearly struck a chord. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit his or her feedback. Instead of focusing on replying individually to every message received, I have focused my efforts over the last several days on addressing the issue:
On Monday & Tuesday, I met with board colleagues to discuss the 2006-2007 school calendar (the Superintendent has yet to present a formal proposal) and the feedback I was receiving. Today, I began working with staff at the Board of Education to draft a change to current board rules in order to require multi-year calendars and sufficient lead time so that all affected can plan without unforeseen disruptions. (I was shocked to learn that current policy gives the Superintendent until May 1st of a given year to submit a calendar.) In addition, I have compiled the many reasons people provided for their displeasure with an earlier start date and will be forwarding the feedback to the Superintendent's office for their information.
On a related note: A number of constituents commented on the fact that DCPS has less total instructional time than neighboring high-performing school districts and that we need to move to address that. I agree that we should work toward increasing high-quality instructional time at DCPS, but the issue is quite complex and involves much more than the simple addition of time to the school day or days to the school year. In any case, the move to a longer day or year should be the result of a deliberative process with ample time for community input.
Again, I'd like to thank all of those who called, emailed, and even stopped me on the street to let me know how you felt. No other issue has generated as much constituent communication as this one. As we continue to work to improve DCPS, I hope that you will continue to share your thoughts with vigor.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Victor Reinoso on school start date
Last week Ward 3 & 4 school board member sent out an email discussing the rumor that the next school year will have an earlier start date.